Koh Phangan Island
'More Than Its Famous Full Moon Party'

While Koh Phangan Island is best known for its famous Full Moon Party, this Island which is located close to Koh Samui and Turtle Island offers the younger traveler much more than just a party environment.  While the name of the island in Thai actually means 'sand bar', don't be fooled by the name because this is one very beautiful island. 

BACKGROUND

The natural beauty of Phangan Island has been known in this region for well over two thousand years.  Archaeological investigations conducted on neighbouring Koh Samui in 1977 provide evidence of human occupation on both Koh Samui and Koh Phangan dating back to the time of Christ.  During the past hundred years the late King Chulalongkorn of Thailand also fell in love with the beauty of this island vacationing here on no fewer than 14 occasions.

Prior to the 1970s, this island was a quiet fishing village although the economy was based upon tin mining, fishing and farming coconuts.  Since then with the influx of foreign visitors tourism has taken over as the major source of income for the island.  This growth in tourism also led to a growth in the islands population as 14,000 people now call this slice of paradise home.   

With so much natural beauty everywhere you look, it is of little surprise that Koh Phangan Island now attracts thousands of visitors to its shores each year. 

THE BEACHES

With pristine beaches, clear blue waters and its people having a laid back attitude this island paradise has also become home to both retiree's and expats.   Indeed, this island getaway seems to offer something for everyone.  

The most beautiful beaches on the island which are typified by powder white sand and surrounded by coconut trees include Chaloklum, Mae Haad and Haad Yao (see image below). 

Exploring these beaches is an excellent activity if you want to get to know the island quickly.  However, if this seems like too much work you can simply relax under the shade of a coconut tree and look out over the Gulf of Thailand. 

ACTIVITIES

However, there are numerous activities on the island to keep you entertained including swimming, scuba diving (off Mae Haad Beach), jet-skiing, and sailing.  Other places to visit include shops. restaurants, gyms and fitness camps, massage and spa's (at the Sanctuary Resort), pubs, and bars.  

There are also numerous accommodation options on the island including villa's and bungalows and large luxury resorts; many of which overlook the beaches.   

However, if you enjoy a party then you can't go past the monthly Full Moon Party which can attract between 10,000-30,000 thousand people per month depending upon the time of year.  This is the biggest party in southern Thailand and is held at the small 800 metre long Haad Rin Beach.  New Years Eve is the biggest event on the  Koh Phangan calendar each year.  

However, be aware that on October 27 2014 Thailand's Junta government has banned  all other parties (i.e. Black Moon and Half Moon) on all beaches in Surat Thani province, citing tourist safety as the reason.       

Here party goers can enjoy  loud music on the beach and dance till their hearts are content while enjoying the free fireworks which fill the night sky.  Food and beverages are never too far away as numerous Thai traders make their way around the crowd.

However, be warned that these parties are fueled by alcohol so social problems such as drunkenness and crime are often present, hence there is a large presence of both police and medical officers on hand. Women in particular are encouraged to be aware of their personal safety when attending this party.  

GETTING THERE

The best way to travel to Koh Phangan Island is by taking a 1 hour flight from Bangkok to Koh Samui and then a ferry from Koh Samui Island to Phangan Island.  The journey takes around 30 minutes.  Thai Airways and Bangkok Airways have daily flights to Koh Samui.  

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